Grants and Scholarships for the Female Engineering Student

engineerA woman in an engineering environment could easily take a look around on the job and feel quite out-numbered. According to the National Science Foundation there is a huge gender gap in the Science and Engineering Labor Force.

Women make up only 28% of the workforce in comparison to men. Yet, while grade school boys tend to outscore girls in math and science testing, the girls tend to out-perform the boys in those areas in the classroom setting.  The logical conclusion, then, is that men and women are equally adept at the math and hard sciences.

So, why is there still a large gender gap in the engineering field?  Could it be that many women have bought into the myth that they can’t perform as well as the men?  Fortunately, a growing number of institutions are providing financial aid to encourage women to delve into those areas that are traditionally over-populated with men.  Have you considered some of the many possibilities?

Possibilities for Engineering Fields of Study

Engineering offers an abundance of career avenues and opportunities.  Examples include chemical engineering, which can involve the petroleum exploration industry, agricultural, and biological fields.

Civil engineering can allow you to flex your imagination with respect to transportation and the environment.  Perhaps your interests are varied and you would like to enter the aeronautics and space exploration industries or the green energy infrastructure.  You may even have a knack for computer technologies and artificial intelligence.

As a minority, women entering the engineering workforce find that the possibilities are endless in terms of career opportunity and advancement. And now, there are more grants and scholarships available to women in engineering than ever.

Scholarships, Grants and Awards

IEEE Charles Le Geyt Fortescue Scholarship: This long-standing scholarship award (established in 1939) provides up to a $24,000.00 stipend for the full-time electrical engineering graduate student.  You must be United States citizen, and you must have your undergraduate degree in-hand (or be enrolled in a combined undergraduate/graduate program of study).

Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Scholarships: In 2014, the SWE provided in excess of 230 scholarship awards, with a total disbursement of over $700,000.00, to women enrolled in accredited undergraduate and graduate engineering programs of study.  In addition, the SWE offers scholarship awards to re-entry and non-traditional female students who are re-entering the workforce, or who are returning to college in pursuit of their engineering credentials.

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Scholarships and Awards: Applicants for these awards may be male or female, in their undergraduate or graduate levels of study and an AIAA student member in good standing.  In 2012, the scholarship pool was $250,000.00 and they awarded up to $25,000.00 to deserving students.  The AIAA organized in 1963 and specializes in “modern American flight” with emphasis on the aerospace sciences.

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) Senior Undergraduate Scholarship: In terms of engineering, the ASDSO is interested in your pursuit of hydraulics, hydrology, or geotechnical disciplines that pertain to dam design, construction and operation.  The under-represented female engineering student would do well to keep this career path in mind.  The scholarship is open to US Senior level students in accredited undergraduate programs.  Awards range from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00.

Alpha Omega Epsilon (AOE) National Foundation, Grants, Rings of Excellence Scholarship and Engineering and Technical Science Achievement: The AOE awards female students who “exemplify” good character, conduct, integrity, academic achievement, community involvement, and extracurricular curricular activities $100.00 to $250.00 in grants and two different financial scholarship awards. Rings of Excellence is open to AOE members or daughters/granddaughters of members.  The latter are open to female undergraduate students majoring in engineering or technology studies.

Palantir Scholarship for Women in Engineering: If you have a full academic year in an accredited program with evidence of devotion to the hard sciences, technology, engineering, or even math, you are eligible to pursue this financial award.  The awards range from $1,500.00 to $10,000.00.  In addition, finalists are invited to visit the Palantir headquarters (Palo Alto, CA) for a two-day workshop hosted by the women of Palantir in order to explore how women are making worldwide impact in the engineering fields.

Davidson Institute for Talent Development: The Davidson Institute is interested in the best and brightest among young people ages eighteen and under.  If you have made a significant contribution to your area of interest (think school science or robotics competitions), you are eligible for a $10,000.00, $25,000.00, or even a $50,0000.00 Davidson Fellow Scholarship. Included are pursuit in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and “Outside the Box.”  As a young woman beginning her collegiate studies, this scholarship opportunity can provide you with a great educational financing nest-egg.  In addition, you are invited to Washington, D. C. as recognition in honor of your achievement via Congressional meeting and reception.

Hewlitt Packard (HP) Helion OpenStack Scholarship: This scholarship is open to women interested in the technology venue of engineering, specifically, those interested in OpenStack and/or Cloud Foundry computer engineering science.  There are four annual awards of $10,000.000, each complemented by mentoring and internship possibilities with HP.

Success in Financing Your College Education

Engineering, by its very nature is the combining of one or more avenues of thought and ideas and putting them together to build or create something new and applicable to our technologically-advanced world.

As such, you must think “outside the box”, as suggested by the Davidson Fellowship, above.  This creative thinking must begin now as a high school or college student and carry forward into your career as a professional engineer.

There is no better time than now to begin applying the brainstorming that will be required of you as a successful professional female engineer.  The opportunities presented above, are simply sources to get you started on your search for financing your education.

In addition, be sure to research minority and disabled person’s scholarships for the engineering sciences if you qualify.     Likewise, there are internship opportunities that may allow you to earn-while-you-learn, either monetarily, academically, or in terms of apprenticeship.  So, isn’t is time for to you to “engineer” the financing of your educational path?

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